Starting in September, many hospitals in New York City will participate in an initiative to educate new moms about the benefits of breastfeeding versus formula, and ban giving all new mothers swag bags from formula companies. If women choose not to breastfeed, they will still be given formula, but will receive education on why breastfeeding is the best option. The swag bags can still be given to mothers for medical reasons, or if they request them.
I’m not seeing a problem with this initiative, and I am unsure why women are so upset. I understand that women do not want to feel pressured or guilty if they choose not to breastfeed, but I don’t see the harm in educating women on the benefits and letting them decide which option works best for them. Some women can only breastfeed for a few weeks or a few months, but if they can physically and emotionally do it and feel comfortable doing so, it is the best option, and it is free! It also helps lower the risk of ear infections, pneumonia, and diarrhea in newborns. However, many new moms feel overwhelmed and worried that their baby is not getting enough milk, it sometimes hurts, the baby won’t latch properly, and so on. This causes many women to want to rush right to formula.
If women want to breastfeed they should read a few books on the topic, take classes at their local hospital or La Leche League, receive tips and support from friends and family members, and make sure to schedule the lactation specialist right away, even if the baby latches at the hospital. On the other hand, if someone doesn’t want to breastfeed or cannot breastfeed because of a medical condition (i.e., C-section issues, adoption, medication, etc.), they should not feel that they’re not good mothers or worry that their baby won’t be as smart as breastfed babies. Women should seek as much information as possible and then make an informed decision. At the end of the day, I don’t see any harm in providing education, especially when it involves the health and well-being of a mother and her baby.
Please let us know how you feel about this topic. Do you agree or disagree with what they are doing in NYC, and already implementing in some hospitals around the country? Do you think it will increase the number of women who breastfeed?